Monday, May 28, 2012

Cyber bullying with the big boys.

Working on the second draft of a short story I started about a year ago or so.  Actually, it started almost two years ago exactly.  I have a friend (who by the way is the inspiration for a lot of Mac's character in this story) who found himself on the receiving end of a cyber war of a kind. 
Now just to be fair all around, I happen to think that a lot of his paranoia was in his own head, but I don't blame him for that.  He had just lost his job, and the reason that he was given was a complete lie.  To make a long story short without including a whole lot of details, he had linked it to some comments that he made on the Internet.
What I was thinking then, and what I am still pondering now is the use of cyber bullying.  Or specifically, how an entity like a government or corporation could use Internet technology to embarrass, discredit and silence.  I was kind of stuck on two ideas.
1. Put porn on their computer:  Child porn would be best, but depending on their enviroment or sensibilities, anything might work.  As I was thinking about this possibility, I couldn't help but get into a conspiratorial mood that suggested that the hype and fear over pedophilia in the past several years would be a handy way to keep 'dangerous people' down.  Somebody starts getting uppity, you throw a few naked kids on their computer and, bam!  Discredited and ruined for life.  This is something I might save for another story, I don't think I want to play this card in 1984 Redux.

2.  Terrorism:  Same thing only with bomb making materials and anarchist manifestos.  Not quite as effective as the technique above, but still useful.

But that was it.  So much for my creative mind.  So I started looking up this idea of cyberbullying.   If you type that term into Google, you get a lot of sites that have to do with kids, teens mostly.  I was kind of already aware of some of this, but I wasn't really privy to some of the really creative ways high school-age kids would go and slam each other.  
It goes to show that, when it comes to cruelty, nothing is as creative and effective as a child.

That's where I'm at though.  I'm taking some of those ideas and refining them into something a modern corporation would use.  What kind of things would a modern corporation resort to if it meant quieting a whistle-blower?  Especially if it would save them millions, or even billions of dollars.

Good old fashioned school-yard rules as applied to the modern technological landscape.  A little unsettling to think about.

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